Bunnell’s James Hayes, 22, Arrested for Carjacking an 81-Year-Old Woman
FlaglerLive | October 19, 2011
James Hayes Jr. is a 22-year-old native of Daytona Beach who bears the literal scars of an unhappy childhood: he was shot through the waist before he turned 18. He’s been homeless for most of the past four years, except for the dozen times he’s been booked into the Flagler County jail since 2007 on a long list of petty charges: marijuana possession, underage drinking, driving on a suspended license, violating probation, shoplifting.
He’d never committed a violent crime. Until, police say, two weeks ago.
It was the late afternoon of Oct. 6. An 81-year-old woman and her 85-year-old male friend were at the Burger King on U.S. 1 near Grenada Boulevard in Ormond Beach. The woman’s friend had gone into the restaurant to get some food. The woman stayed in the car, a convertible with its top down. Sudddenly, a man she’d noticed talking on a cell phone in the parking lot jumped into the car and told her: “I need this car.” The two struggled for a moment, she putting the car back in neutral and he putting it back in gear and driving off, until he reached a nearby traffic light, when he ordered the woman to get out. The woman did so, and went to Burger King to report the theft. The man drove south on U.S. 1.
A surveillance video from a nearby Motel 6 had footage of a man matching the suspect’s description. A tip at the motel linked the suspect to an ex-patron at the motel, who’d been issued a trespass warning. That patron was Hayes. He was also linked to a woman who stayed at another, nearby motel, the Scottish Inn, and who works at Cheaters, the strip joint on U.S. 1. The woman, who has a 2-year-old child with Hayes, told deputies she hadn’t seen him since morning. She told deputies that Hayes had had drug problems in the past but was over that. Hayes had registered at Wyotech, a technical school, but deputies found out he’d been kicked out for missing too many classes.
On Monday, deputies learned that the convertible–a 1996 Chrysler Sebring–had been located by a Flagler County deputy on horseback in the wooded area at along Hazelnut Street in Bunnell. The top had been down, and the car was full of water. It had no keys and was not driveable. The license plate was missing. But the vehicle was connected to the one carjacked on Oct. 6. It was towed back to Volusia County.
The car had been 28.4 miles away from the site of the carjacking, but just 1.6 miles from the home of Hayes’s father.
Volusia County Circuit Court Judge William Parsons issued a warrant for the younger Hayes’s arrest, and this morning, Bunnell police picked him up and returned him to jail. His address had previously been listed as “homeless.” This time, it was 800 Deen Road. His bond was set at $125,000. He was later transferred to jail in Volusia County.